What’s the Difference Between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?

white wine in glass

If you have been in the wine scene for a while now, you must have heard about Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio. While these two classy wine variants look pretty identical, you can differentiate them by leveraging some of their unique characteristics. Find out more about Pinot Gris vs. Pinot Grigio in this article.

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio – An Overview

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are both varieties of white wine grape. Both belong to the Vitis vinifera family and are thought to be mutant clones of the Pinot Noir variety. However, the origin of these grapes is different. Pinot Gris is cultivated in Alsace, France, while Pinot Grigio comes from the Lombardy region of Italy.

Both varieties produce identical but little different wines. However, they are typically categorised depending on whether they have been made following the French style or the Italian recipe. Presently, both Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are produced across the globe.

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Pinot Gris vs. Pinot Grigio – The Key Differences

Though many aficionados use the terms ‘Pinot Gris’ and ‘Pinot Grigio’ interchangeably, a few characteristics set them apart.


Authentic French Pinot Gris features a rich and spicy flavour. The grapes usually range from greyish pink to blue. In fact, in French, Gris means grey. Pinot Gris has different styles, each with a distinctive flavour profile. Typically, Pinot Gris carries the notes of citrus, stone fruit, and tropical fruits.

In some varieties, you can detect subtle undertones of sweet lemon. However, the wine’s acidity depends on the grape’s maturity. The riper the fruit is, the less acidic the drink tends to be.

On the other hand, the Italian Pinot Grigio is crisp and light-bodied. They feature complex aromas like pear, stone fruit, green apple, and honeysuckle. Usually, early harvested Pinot Grigios make wines with higher acidity. Pinot Grigio wines are less spicy and lighter than the French Pinot Gris wine.

● Food Pairings

Pinot Gris’ zesty and refreshing acidity makes it ideal for pairing with fresh veggies, lighter meals, and raw fish. You can also try shellfish with Pinot Gris. The best fishes to partner with Pinot Gris are sea bass, trout, haddock, cod, perch, etc. Oysters and clams are great options as well. White meats like chicken and turkey also go well with Pinot Gris.

If you want to try Pinot Gris with cheese, you should bet on cow and sheep’s milk cheeses, Grana Padano, or muenster. Additionally, you can include some spices and herbs like thyme, white pepper, ginger, cinnamon, fenugreek, etc.

Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, is highly acidic. Thus, you can pair it with pork or beef, cucumber, celery, onion, or kale. Furthermore, you can try pairing Pinot Grigio with green apples, white beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or squash. Ginger and garlic pair well with Pinot Grigio.

● Temperature

While both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris can be enjoyed at cooler temperatures, their particulars depend on the style of the bottle. Pinot Gris tastes best at a slightly cool temperature, which is adequate to maintain the wine’s freshness.

On the other hand, Pinot Grigio is best enjoyed when you take it out from the fridge. The chill beautifully highlights its acidity. For both wines, a standard white wine glass works well.

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio – The Types

Types of Pinot Gris

Fruity and dry Pinot Gris: This variant features a straightforward fruit-driven style. You can expect the flavours of white pitch, yellow apple, and lemon. The wine itself tends to be oily and rich. This variant is less acidic; winemakers often infuse this certain variety of Pinot Gris with a specific bacteria leveraging the malolactic fermentation process.

The best fruity and dry Pinot Gris wines come from Oceania, South Africa, Argentina, and the United States.

Sweet and fruity: This variant usually comes from France. Also known as Tokaji, this intensely sweet white wine used to be the darling of the kings in the Ottoman empire.

Types of Pinot Grigio

Ramato: The most sought-after variant of Pinot Grigio is Ramato! Some wine lovers also call it a Rose Pinot Grigio. The drink blends the purple skins of Pinot Gris grapes, giving the wine a rose gold hue. 

Ramato wines usually come from the Friuli region of Italy, and it features distinctive nuances of sour cherry, dried cranberry, and white raspberry, complemented by an unusual meaty note. You can even find barrel-aged rose Pinot Grigio.

Minerally and dry Pinot Grigio: Another popular variety of Pinot Grigio is minerally and dry Pinot Grigio. Manufacturers prepare this variety with Pinot Grigio grapes grown in the steep valleys of Alpine. It’s lean and zippy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1.   What is a Pinot Gris?

Pinot Gris is a particular white wine grape variety. In fact, it’s the same grape variety of the species Vitis Vinifera. This highly acidic grape variant thrives in the hilly regions of France, the United States, Germany, Australia, and Ukraine.

2.   How does Pinot Grigio taste?

Pinot Grigio typically features lemon, pear, apple, and citrus notes. However, these tones may vary depending on the grapes’ growing region. For example, American Pinot Grigio features a saline-like minerality and honeysuckle notes.

3.   Is Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio the same?

Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio share several similarities. However, they are not the same. Sauvignon Blanc features a highly aromatic profile, while Pinot Grigio is pretty reserved. Some varieties of Sauvignon Blanc, like Cabernet Sauvignon, are dedicated red wines, whereas Pinot Grigio is mostly white.

4.   What is Pinot Blanc?

Pinot Blanc is a white grape variant. These soft and fresh fruits feature flowery and fruity aromas, complemented by the undertones of species and herbs.

5.   What is Pinot Meunier?

Just like the Pinot Gris grape, Pinot Meunier is a variety of wine grapes. However, manufacturers use Pinot Meunier to produce champagne besides preparing red wines.


To conclude, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, both grape variants, make world-class wines. If you haven’t tried them yet, order some bottles now and savour their unique acidity and fruity-floral notes. Pair them up with some delicious foods and turn your gloomy evenings into enchanting ones.

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